This Instant Pot pulled pork is a delicious and easy dinner. Tender shredded pork is flavored with spices and cooked in only 2 hours. You get all the flavor of pulled pork cooked low and slow in a fraction of the time!
Pulled pork is a delicious and versatile dinner and making it in the Instant Pot is the quickest way to make it! I love to make pulled pork for dinner because I can serve it 2 or 3 times in one week with no complaints.
The first time I serve it with coleslaw and barbecue sauce on rolls. Then a day or so later I use it for nachos or tacos. And if there is still some left it I can make pulled pork mac and cheese, a BBQ pulled pork pizza or freeze it.
Low and slow cooked on an outdoor smoker is probably the best way to make pulled pork – but I don’t always have time for that. A 12-14 hour smoking time rarely fits into my busy schedule!
Why You Will Love Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- Since pork shoulder is inexpensive you can use this meal to feed a crowd.
- It is easily portable, so you can take it to a potluck or party.
- This is a mostly hands off recipe, so you can do other things while the pork cooks in the pressure cooker.
- Pulled pork is a versatile dinner you can serve in many different ways, making it perfect for meal prep.
- It is done in about 2 hours!
- Pork shoulder or pork butt – These are essentially the same cut of pork and either one is perfect for pulled pork. You can also use pork loin, but it costs more and is harder to pull into shreds, so why bother?
- Broth – The broth helps flavor the pork as it cooks and provides the liquid for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
- Cider vinegar – The acid in the cider vinegar helps flavor and tenderize the pork, so that it falls apart once it is cooked.
- Dry rub – This recipe uses a homemade dry rub, but if you have a favorite store bought or homemade pork rub you can use it instead.
Pork Dry Rub
The dry rub for the pork uses basic seasonings you probably already have at home, including brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, red pepper flakes, ground mustard and garlic powder.
The brown sugar is the most important ingredient because the combination of the brown sugar with browning the meat in the Instant Pot helps caramelize the outside layer and adds a ton of flavor to the pulled pork.
What About Barbecue Sauce?
I prefer not to include barbecue sauce in cooking the pulled pork. I think it tastes best when you add barbecue sauce to the completed pork once it is done instead of putting into the Instant Pot.
Plus that way my son can use the extra spice barbecue sauce he loves and my husband and I can use a milder one. And many times we eat pulled pork without barbecue sauce at all, because it is moist enough that it doesn’t need sauce.
Step by Step Instructions
1. Make the Dry Rub
Mix together the brown sugar, salt, pepper, paprika, crushed red pepper, ground mustard and garlic powder in a large bowl.
2. Brown the Pork
Cut the pork roast into 3 or 4 chunks or more or less equal size. Put the chunks in the bowl with the dry rub and toss it until it is well coated in spices.
Turn the Instant Pot on Saute and let it heat for about 2 minutes. Then add some oil. Brown the pork in batches, for 2-3 minutes per side.
Turn it so all sides are browned. Once a pieces is browned take them out of the Instant Pot and set the pork aside for a couple minutes while you deglaze.
3. Deglaze the Instant Pot
This is an important step because it reduces the chances that you will get a Burn error from the Instant Pot! Turn the pot off and add the chicken broth.
Scrape the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon to remove and bits of pork that have stuck to the bottom.
4. Pressure Cook
Stir the cider vinegar into the chicken broth. Then return the chunks of pork to the Instant Pot. Put the lid on making sure the sealing ring is in place and pressure valve is closed.
Set the Instant Pot for Manual, high pressure, for 60 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for the Instant Pot to reach pressure.
Once it is done cooking let the Instant Pot naturally release pressure for 15 minutes. After that you can release any remaining pressure manually, by releasing the valve.
Remove the pieces of pork to a large bowl or platter and let it rest for 5-10 minutes before you pull it. Use two forks or shredder claws to shred the pork.
The pork should just fall apart and be tender and very easy to shred. Serve the pork on rolls topped with barbecue sauce and red cabbage or coleslaw.
Some other popular toppings for pulled pork sandwiches are
But you don’t have to make it into a sandwich! I love it without barbecue sauce or a roll, just served in a big pile on a plate with air fryer cornbread.
An other great way to use it is a Mexican inspired dish, like tacos, burrito bowls, or BBQ pulled pork nachos.
How to Store
This recipe makes a lot of pulled pork, but it stores very well. You can store cooked pulled pork in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or freeze it in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
If you are reheating frozen pulled pork reheat it on the stove with a little bit of barbecue sauce to moisten it, since it will dry out some after freezing.
Instead of using chicken broth you can use Dr Pepper or rootbeer as the cooking liquid for the pork. If you are using soda you can skip the apple cider vinegar, since soda is already acidic.
Cutting the pork into 3 or 4 chunks before pressure cooking helps ensure the pork cooks more evenly and more quickly.
Pork shoulder or pork butt is the best cut of meat for pulled pork. There are some slight differences between these two cuts, but they are very similar.
These cuts are relatively inexpensive and easy to find. They can be bought either bone in or boneless, but boneless is easier for cooking in the Instant Pot, since you will need to cut them into smaller pieces.
It is much much more likely that you will under cook pulled pork in an Instant Pot than overcook it. Pork shoulder and pork butt have lots of fat, which means they are pretty forgiving with overcooking.
If you are using pork loin or pork tenderloin they are leaner meats and it is possible to overcook them, which is one of the reasons they aren’t as good for pulled pork.
Find More Easy Instant Pot Recipes
- Instant Pot Fish Stew
- Instant Pot French Dip
- Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Air Fryer Pork Loin
Instant Pot Pulled Pork
- 3-4 pound pork roast shoulder or butt, cut into 4 chunks
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 cup chicken broth
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
Pork Dry Rub
- 3 tablespoons brown sugar packed
- 3 teaspoons kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes depending on taste
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Add the spices for the dry rub spices to a large bowl and whisk together. Or use your favorite store bought pork rub.3 tablespoons brown sugar, 3 teaspoons kosher salt, ½ teaspoon pepper, 1 teaspoon paprika, 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon ground mustard, 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- Cut the pork into 3 or 4 pieces and add them to the bowl. Toss the pork until it is well coated with the spices.3-4 pound pork roast
- Turn Instant Pot to the saute setting and add olive oil. Let it heat for about 2 minutes.2 tablespoons olive oil
- Add the pork to the Instant Pot and brown it on all sides, about 2 minutes for each side. Brown the pork in batches if you need to. Once all the pieces of pork are browned take them out and set them aside for a few minutes.
- Add the chicken broth and deglaze the bottom of the pot, scrapping with a wooden spoon. Remove any bits of pork that are stuck to the bottom. This makes it less likelly you will get a Burn error from the Instant Pot.1 cup chicken broth
- Add the apple cider vinegar to the Instant Pot and mix it with the chicken broth. Return the chunks of pork to the pot and put the lid on, making sure the seal is in place and pressure valve is closed.¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- Set the Instant Pot on Manual, high pressure for 60 minutes. It will take about 10 minutes for it to reach pressure. Once it is done let the pressure release naturally for 15 minutes. Then you canmanually release any remaining pressure.
- Remove pork to a large platter or bowl and allow to rest for 5-10 minutes. Shred it with 2 forks or with meat claws.
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Nutrition facts are estimates.